Ajayan Subramanian

16 Feb 2016

My project is to complicate the act of drawing by pen. The user is presented with the outline of a cat and is required to trace it using using the Cintiq tablet and its associated pen. I plotted the users’ paths as they traced it.

Under normal circumstances, here is a plot of how users trace it:

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My project makes this task more difficult through the setup. The user is not allowed to look at the screen as she/he traces it. Instead the user can see the reflection of the object in a mirror whose curvature ensures an inverted, diminished image. So the user can see the image of their hand tracing the cat in the mirror, but not the actual hand or tablet. To make things a little easier, the object to trace on the tablet is made inverted, so that the image in the mirror is upright. Below is a video demonstrating the setup and use of the drawing software:


And here is a plot of how users drew the cat with the impairment of looking at it through the mirror:

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My main motivation for this project was to make the simple act of tracing more difficult. The image in the mirror, being diminished gives you false visual feedback that your circles and strokes are on the path. While they aren’t. The image also puts you off trying to draw from memory, since it indicates your correct strokes and actions as wrong on the mirror.

The interesting part with this experiment was that after some practice I became quite adept at tracing this image through the mirror setup. And when I tried to switch back to drawing upright objects, I struggled. It seems like my brain underwent some kind of learning. In the following group discussion I was exposed to anamorphic projections and the work of Steve Mann. I’m curious to explore that space further.